Top Stories / National
Tuesday, 18 Jul 2017 17:16 EAT
Kenya needs truly democratic and strong institutions that serve the people. People and political parties come and go, but when you have strong institutions that support democracy, you have a better chance of ensuring that the democracy thrives and succeeds for the betterment of the people it seeks to serve. We have to hold the holders of office at IEBC and any other public office accountable. We need institutions of integrity. Institutions that are beyond reproach ensuring they remain strong, viable and independent.
Retreating to institutional capture and strongmen attitude will not only kill nascent constitutional democracy but also it has an unsavoury, long-term consequence, especially for the generation that should be bequeathed the ideals enshrined in our constitution. If we do not stand up now collectively and ensure that these institutions remain strong and independent, we run the risk of undoing the phenomenal work we have started under the constitution.
Every citizen must be mindful from the very start of the importance of accountability to democracy. Past experiences have made us acutely aware of the possible dangers of a government and or institutions that are neither transparent nor accountable. To this end, the constitution contains several mechanisms to ensure that government will not be part of the problem, but part of the solution. This is well reflected on chapters of Integrity and leadership, Public Service and Constitutional Commissions and offices.
This for me confirms the critical role that these institutions should and must play, and our role as citizens, in ensuring that they are not only stronger but that they withstand political interference. I repeat again individuals and political parties come and go and they often have selfish, narrow-minded and short-term agendas. By contrast, strong institutions - if they operate as intended - have long-term agendas that are informed by constitutional values, transparency and accountability.
For this reason, our focus must be on strengthening and developing institutions rather than strengthening individuals. If we fail in this goal, we fail the highest price the country paid to have progressive constitution. We need institutions that are able to speak truth to power and function as intended. IEBC has failed the legitimacy test of credibility, integrity and trustworthy.
The writer is the Executive Director of the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC).